GRUBER'S RESTAURANT was a popular fixture in Greater Cleveland for almost 60 years. It was founded in 1907 by Max Gruber, Sr. During its first years, the restaurant moved frequently. It was originally located at Columbus Rd. and Willey Ave. in the FLATS, next at West 25th St. and Clark Ave., and then to a neighboring building which also housed the Democrats' Sycamore. It was at this site that Gruber's developed its loyal following.
In 1912 Gruber moved downtown to the Columbia Building at 102 Prospect Ave. (now the home of DYKE COLLEGE). When Prohibition went into effect in 1920, Gruber closed his Cleveland operation, feeling that dining without drinks was not a tenable position. He then opened restaurants in Geneva-on-the-Lake and later in Canada, on Stag Island, near Marysville, MI. In 1932 Gruber brought his business back to Cleveland, opening Max Gruber's Cafe in the Arcade. He continued operating there until 1947. Gruber's most successful era began 14 April 1947, when Gruber's sons, Max, Jr., and Roman, opened a dining room at Van Aken (then Moreland) Blvd. and Warrensville Center Rd. The new venue proved extraordinarily popular, becoming the setting for Cleveland's "jolly set," the city's version of cafe society. It was a favorite spot for columnists, athletes, and politicians. Sports leaders AL SUTPHIN and Bill Veeck were frequently there.
In 1960 the Gruber brothers decided to retire, selling the restaurant and its name to the Fred Harvey chain. Harvey's operated the facility until 1964, when it was bought by Eddie and Bernard Goldfard and John Raleigh. By then, however, without the Grubers' imprint on its service, loyal customers had been lost and its overall popularity waned. Band music was introduced in 1965 to attract new customers, but business continued to dwindle. The restaurant closed in 1967.